Máire Brennan


Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998
From: anduan (anduan@yahoo.com)

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul) carried an article about Máire and her new album in its March 7 issue. Here's the interview portion.

Q. Many of our readers will be surprised that you've done a Christian album. What led to this?

A. They'll probably be surprised that I've been a Christian for 10 years. I had been wondering - was I supposed to do any work for the Lord? I had prayed about it quite a bit. The Lord has very much guided me into doing this album now. That's why "Perfect Time" is just an obvious title.

Q. Your music with Clannad often gets classified as New Age. What do you think about that?

A. When I was on tour with Clannad, a lot of Christians and non-Christians thought I was a Druid. But Clannad never really thought of itself as New Age. New Age has stolen a lot under the label `Celtic'. They've taken real things from Christians. I'm talking about oils and symbols that are in the Bible. Jesus used oil. Are we going to sit back and let them take that?

Q. Will you describe your faith?

A. I go to a wonderful church - it's nondenominational. I was brought up a Catholic. I kind of stopped going to church and things like that. I got into the rock 'n' roll episode of my life - drinking too much and things like that. Then I came to a point where I thought, what is life about? Thank God, I was raised Catholic so I knew where to look. I started to pray and asked the Lord to guide me. It was a very slow process of questioning - it wasn't something that just happened. I wasn't blinded by the Spirit.

Q. How is your Christian album similar or dissimilar to Clannad?

A. It's very similar. It's my voice and the harmonies and melodies that I use. It's what people relate to as Celtic. I would like to think this album is meant for Christians and non-Christians. It's not a worship album, but it is from my heart. I would not be able to write these words without God's intervention. It's all based on God's love and Jesus' love - that somebody loves us and will do anything for us if we believe in him.

Q. Will you continue with Clannad?

A. I have no reason not too. In fact, in the middle of this album, I did a Clannad album. I don't think that's a mistake. The music is complementary. A lot of people connect with Clannad. And, of course, they hear about Enya and Riverdance. But that sound never existed until we started it.

Q. Are you planning a tour with your Christian music?

A. By the end of the year, I'll be making another album. Then I would have 20 songs or so - enough to put a performance together. I'm taking this day by day. Of course, I could eat my words and be there in five months' time. The Lord will guide me.

Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998
From: "Harry Sarkas" (hsarkas@mindspring.com)

The following is a transcript of the radio program "Echoes" in which Máire Brennan was interviewed.


"Echoes" Program X-30, Public Radio International (aired the week of 22 July 1998)

"Máire Brennan - Perfect Time"

Voices heard in the interview:
JD = John Diliberto (host of "Echoes")
KH = Kimberly Haas (interviewer)
MB = Máire Brennan
DW = Denis Woods

JD: We all know Máire Brennan's voice from the Irish band Clannad. Gourgeous choirs like the "Theme From Harry's Game". Máire has put out her third solo album and it's an unadulterated Christian recording released on the Word label., which specializes in Christian Pop. We visited Máire in Ireland where she talked about her new music and new found faith. Kimberly Haas brings us Máire Brennan's Celtic Christianity.

(sounds of footsteps walking outside)

KH: Walking along the pier just across the street from her home south of Dublin, Ireland, singer Máire Brennan, from the group Clannad, soaks up the quiet ambience of sailboats, ferries, and the breeze blowing through the harbor. It reminds her of growing up in County Donegal.

MB: ...where I grew up in County Donegal, the mountains are behind me, there are hardly any other houses around, and the distance you know, you see the sea and the dotted little islands, and it's really, really beautiful.

(loud sound of the Irish Ferry horn sounds)

MB: There she blows! Ah, there you go...live from Dun Laoghaire.

KH: I could get all poetic and say this is where Máire Brennan comes for her inspiration, but lately she has found a different source. Although she doesn't like the expression, Máire has become a born again Christian, and it is this faith that has enforced her latest album "Perfect Time".

(music from the song "The Big Rock" plays)

As the eldest child of nine in the Brennan family, Máire Brennan, like most good children of County Donegal, was born and raised Catholic.

MB: The way my parents brought us up, and we were all brought up the same way, and umm, when anyone of us are at home we always go to church with my mum and dad, you know, and sing in the choirs. Emm, and I suppose, in a way, I followed it on and uh practicing as a Christian. There are no members of the family that do it.

KH: Máire says she became a Christian about eight years ago despite her apparent success with Clannad, she found an emptiness in her life.

Back in her studio, just across the harbor, she wrote about these feelings and broken dreams on her hymn-like title track to her album "Perfect Time".

MB: Well, it's just all the, the to do with being on the road, rock n' roll, social life, and you know, I suppose being out in that mad, mad world. Drinking too much or you know, uh, I mean, having blurred feelings about things or past love affairs or anything like that. But it's been released from broken dreams, the dreams you thought you needed and you don't.

(music from the song "Perfect Time" plays)

KH: Máire Brennan practices a charasmatic brand of Christianity. She attends St. Mark's Church in Dublin where you might hear her sing a hymn like this...

(Máire sings a church hymn in Gaelic unaccompanied)

Many of the songs on "Perfect Time" are like hymns, but a few transcend their Christian roots, to aspound universal themes like "Na Páistí" ("The Children") which is partly about her own two children with photographer and husband, Tim Jarvis.

MB: You know the honesty kids have. You know, when they're not afraid to say somethings. For instance, "What YOU said...". You know, why do we hide so much when kids always straight about what's black and white basically? And that side of the purity of the kids that's so wonderful to learn from in that way.

(music from "Na Páistí" plays)

KH: "Na Páistí", like many of the songs on "Perfect Time" breaths the tall harmonies and Gaelic tongue which has been a trademark for Clannad since the "Theme from Harry's Game".

DW: One of the amazing features about her voice is that when you do double track it up like that it sounds inifinitly bigger.

KH: Dennis Woods produced "Perfect Time" as well as a pair of recent Clannad albums.

DW: She has a very kind of haunting element of her voice that when you multi-track it, it sounds absolutely amazing.

(music from "Perfect Time" plays)

KH: For one piece, "Song of David", Máire Brennan returns to her ancestoral home in Donegal to record with the church choir, directed by her mother.

MB: When I was singing it, I thought, I could do my part in the studio so I won't lead too much. But when we got back into the sudio, I said 'listen to this' and I was so relaxed and I was just enjoying singing with my mum's choir and everything, and I just put it together. It was extraordinary. It was lovely.

(music plays from "Song of David")

KH: Although we celebrate the exotic religions of the east and bow down to the preachings of native americans, christian music has never garnered much excitement with those not already acquired.

MB: If I was to say to you "Look, I'm into Hindu, or I'm into Buddha", you'd be looking at me and saying "That's amazing. Where'd you get this?" you know, I mean. You're nearly allowed to do that. You think it's exotic or something. Where's Christianity has kind of got a boring tag attached to it, but it's, believe it or not, it's incredible if not more so than any religion that you'd ever come across.

KH: In a world of music in which kualy hymns, Islamic prayers, and Tibetan chants are a norm, Máire Brennan adds a new wrinkle, with ancient Celtic roots, to the spiritual music fermament. Her latest album is Perfect Time, from the Word label. For Echoes, I'm Kimberly Haus.

(Copyright 1998 - Echoes and Public Radio International)

Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998
From: Harry Sarkas (hsarkas@mindspring.com)

Thanks to a tip from Gary in the AMC NG, there is an interview on the CNN web site with Maire Brennan...


This is the interview that Maire did with CNN when she visited the Atlanta area last September. However, they used pictures of Maire taken several years for some strange reason on the web page. The actual video interview, from what I can tell, has not aired on any CNN network yet. Though it was originally done for the CNN program "World Beat". However, you will find the interview quite interesting since she talks about how she got involved with the 'Back To Titanic' soundtrack and her relationship with Enya.

Maintainer's note: The following is a transcript of the interview (without the pictures).

Clannad's Maire Brennan in 'Perfect Time' with life

Web posted on:
Friday, November 13, 1998 12:07:39 PM EST

By Paul Freeman

SAN FRANCISCO -- Most people know Irish vocalist Maire (pronounced Moy-a) Brennan as the lead singer of Clannad, a group that has been exploring Celtic musical traditions for 28 years. Others simply refer to her as Enya's older sister.

Her latest, soaring solo album, "Perfect Time" (on Word/Epic) should help Brennan firm up her own identity. She benefits from the global embracing of Irish music.

"It is amazing for such a small country to create so much interest worldwide," Brennan says. "But Irish people have emigrated for years and years all over the world, planting unknown seeds.

"We sing these lovely, tragic melodies, but always with this great sense of hope. There's a feeling that nothing is ever doomed," she says with a laugh. "It comes from belief. Everybody needs a belief, whether they realize it or not. This music represents my belief, and it has a lot of beauty and culture attached to it."

Ethereal sound

The uplifting ethereal sound of "Perfect Time" should be welcomed not only by Irish and New Age aficionados but by the Christian audience as well. Brennan has become a student of Celtic Christianity, a nonsectarian movement growing in Ireland. But she doesn't want to clutter her albums with messages.

"I'm not an evangelist. I'm a musician and a Christian, so I would like to share, through the music, the joy I've found," she explains. "But I don't want to tell other people what they should do. I'm not one of those who says, 'Do this' or 'Do that.'"

Brennan was raised Catholic. Her second husband, Tim Jarvis, comes from a Protestant background. They have discovered mutual ground in Celtic Christianity. One of the songs the two co-wrote for the new album is titled, "Heal This Land."

"You could call what we've had in Ireland a 'Christian War,'" Brennan says. "I would love it if people could start respecting one another's way of worship. People develop a relationship with God in different ways.

"We've gone down a long road. Prejudices have been passed on for generations," she continues. "But, despite the recent bombing, the majority of people do want to heal this land now. Look at South Africa. The process takes time. But the people are so hopeful."

Many listeners have drawn strength from the music offered by Brennan and Clannad. "There's so much you can give through music," Brennan realizes. "It really is a universal language. People come up and tell me how they can put on our music after a hard day's work, or being in traffic for hours, and the sound calms them."

'Back to Titanic'

The soothing sound of Brennan's voice also can be heard on "Back to Titanic" (Sony), the sequel to the movie soundtrack. She contributes a version of "Come Josephine, in My Flying Machine," which Jack briefly sings to Rose in the film.

"My father thinks he sang this song with his show band. I was thrilled to do it," Brennan says. "It came out of the blue. (The producers) called and wanted me in Los Angeles the next day. They tried to describe when this song happens in the film. I said, 'I'm really, really sorry, but I haven't seen the movie!' I'm so busy. Tim and I had tried to see it in Dublin one day, but couldn't get in. So there I was, flying off to Los Angeles, to record the song, and guess what film was playing on the plane? 'Titanic!'"

Clearly, Brennan was fated to be part of the album. Her entire musical career appears to have been predestined. Her grandparents played in a band. Her mother, whose church choir sings on one track of "Perfect Time," was a music teacher. Her father, 73, still performs at his tavern in County Donegal. That venerable venue celebrated its 30th anniversary this summer with Brennan and many relatives entertaining. It was at this spot that Clannad (which means "family") was born.

"We performed everything from Gaelic songs to Joni Mitchell, Beach Boys and Beatles," Brennan says. "We mixed it all up. Music was music to us."

'A very close family'

Brennan, the eldest of nine children, joined two brothers and twin uncles in the group. She remembers, "We were astonished when people actually started paying us for gigs. We were just doing what we loved."

Her younger sister Enya (born Eithne), who had been more classically trained, sang in Clannad for three years. When she left to begin a solo career, there were reports of family conflict.

Brennan says of her sister, "She wanted to take what she learned from us and move on with her own music. What's wrong with that? There isn't any rivalry as such. She's a wonderful aunt to my kids. She's been wonderful to my parents. And that makes me very happy.

"We share lots. We're still a very close family."

Brennan does not envy Enya: "We're really thrilled about her success. She's worked hard at it. I like being where I am. Being in the superstar bracket is great for her; I like being able to do everyday things myself, going out with the kids and taking a train or a bus."

Best thing: home life

A decade ago, Brennan didn't like where she was going, in terms of lifestyle. "That typical road existence is great for a while," she says. "But partying and drinking depresses you eventually. You get up the next morning with a hangover. You say you won't do it again. But you do. You know in your heart and soul that there's more to life. I went searching."

She found Jarvis, an English photographer assigned to a Clannad shoot. She also found Celtic Christianity. And motherhood completed her bliss. She has a 6-year-old daughter, Aisling (Gaelic for "dream" or "vision") and Paul, who's almost 5.

Though Brennan currently basks in the spotlights shining off "Perfect Time," "Back to Titanic" and the recent Clannad release, "Landmarks" (Atlantic), it's her home life that pleases her most.

"The time I spend with my husband and children is precious," she says. "It's so good to go camping, go to the beach, play Scrabble. That can be as much of a joy as anything."

(c) 1998, Paul Freeman. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

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